The Pursuit of Happiness
By Imogen Goulding
From day dot, humans are encouraged to find happiness. It’s what life is supposed to be all about. They’re taught that it’s the ultimate endgame feeling and one that often comes with more than its fair dose of euphoria. But how is happiness achieved? That’s the question on everyone’s lips.
Whether it’s through yielding a first class honours degree, securing a mortgage or procuring a soulmate, happiness will allegedly be unearthed eventually — like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow (or something equally clichéd). In this day and age, the uncertainty of not nailing those 'essentials' down is now coupled with widespread Brexit uncertainty. And that’s even before you add any personal struggles into the mix. It’s quite the minefield, this life lark.
So, where does it all begin? If you practice a faith, you’ll have noted that religions have always proclaimed that rites of passage are laid out ahead of us to tick off, so to speak. If you don’t, perhaps it’ll have been your parents, guardians or teachers that projected this idea of a one, wholesome happiness. Irrespective, what you actually discover as you grow up is that, happiness isn’t the end result — you’ll actually experience moments of pure bliss and euphoria along the way. It really is the journey, not the destination.
If you think about it for a moment, how many times have you yearned for something to happen and it just hasn’t? Now, this won’t be the case every time, but surely there was something that provided happiness when you least expected it, within that period?
I know as much as the next person that life is rarely as anticipated. But, despite being a magnet for curveball situations, I’ve pushed through a big relocation during my early teens, the disappointment of not being awarded top exam results in spite of infallible preparedness, and even the agony of buying a property. But it was all worth it. I am this version of myself today because of those defining moments.
So, whether you’re going through a time of confusion, anguish or hopelessness, chill out for a second and just remember that joy will come your way soon. It's almost guaranteed to be when you don’t see it coming, either. There's little point in putting a world of pressure on your shoulders, because you can only control certain things. In fact, the best thing you can do is not lose sight of short-term happiness while you’re playing the long game.